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Camping in the Forest of Dean: All you need to know

Written by: Ann Lukkien

June 16th , 2022

Camping in the Forest of Dean: All you need to know

Camping in the Forest of Dean is an unrivalled experience. Encompassing unspoilt, ancient woodland, breathtaking natural scenery and the meandering River Wye; the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley are truly magical places to visit.

There’s plenty of things to do in the Forest of Dean, tranquil places to stay and hundreds of acres to explore.


Things to do in the Forest of Dean

Photo: Marcus Brown

The Forest of Dean boasts a magical array of scenery.  Look up to the canopy of leaves, glittering in the sunshine, venture up an ancient hill fort for unrivalled views, and head deep, deep underground for a truly unforgettable experience.

1. Puzzlewood forest

For an other-worldly experience, a visit to Puzzlewood is an absolute must when exploring the Forest of Dean.  Famously picturesque, Puzzlewood has to be seen to be believed. It was even featured when filming Star Wars. 14 acres of ancient woodland will undoubtably create lasting, magical memories. 

Best seen in sunshine, shortly after rain, take a moment to pause and enjoy a moment of mindfulness amongst the trees. Fantastical, leafy canopies, moss-carpeted woodland floor and an inspirational variety of trees make Puzzlewood particularly atmospheric.

Puzzlewood tickets can be bought on their website.

2. Clearwell caves

For an entirely different experience of the Forest of Dean, venture beneath the woodland floor to visit Clearwell caves. This natural cave system was mined for over 4500 years, for ochre pigments and iron ore, but is now open to explore large, underground caverns and winding passageways. For anyone particularly curious, adventure caving to the lower levels is also possible.

3. Symonds Yat

The perfect place to admire simply stunning views of the River Wye and surrounding area, Symonds Yat Rock is a well-loved viewpoint for those visiting Symonds Yat, Forest of Dean. From the peak, it’s not uncommon to see Peregrine Falcon and other fascinating birds of prey like Goshawks, Sparrowhawks, Buzzards, Ospreys, Tawny Owls, Barn Owls, Ravens and Kestrels. There are also plenty of trails linking to the River Wye, and over the Biblins Bridge which is an event in itself.

4. Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

Explore a truly unique collection of world class sculpture, hidden within the woodlands of the Forest of Dean. This 4.5 mile walking route is situated in the breathtaking Wye Valley region and features an outdoor collection of 17 sculptures for you to enjoy. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is a wonderful way to combine art, culture and the great outdoors. It’s also the perfect place for dog walking in the Forest of Dean, but we recommend keeping them on a lead

5. Mountain Biking in the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is well known for its mountain biking trails, allowing you to enjoy the impressive scenery at a pace that suits you.  There’s a family cycle trail, cross country trails and several advanced downhill trails so there’s something to suit everyone.  

Simply take a bottle of water and a snack or two, and you’re ready to explore this ancient woodland from sunrise to sunset.

Best campsites in the Forest of Dean

Bracelands Campsite is a very spacious campsite near the Forest of Dean. It’s open all year round, so you’ll have ample opportunity to test out some of Snow Peak’s colder weather gear in the winter months! 

Whitemead Caravan Park is also very popular. It offers touring, camping, glamping, lodge and cabin holidays in the Forest of Dean.

Ever asked the question, ‘can I wildcamp in the Forest of Dean?’ The Snow Peak team recommends booking a small, unspoilt campsite to set up home for the duration of your visit.

Without life’s distractions, smaller sites like these really allow you to pitch up, relax and really absorb your surroundings:

Wild camping is technically illegal in the Forest of Dean, but is generally tolerated if you are respectful of your surroundings. 

There are lots of options for Forest of Dean glamping, too. We recommend checking Air B&B for some really special locations.

Where to eat in the Forest of Dean

After a long day exploring the ancient woodlands, there’s nothing better than relaxing and chatting over a delicious meal.

The Forest of Dean boasts a huge arrange of artisan produce too. A visit to one of the many Forest of Dean farm shops or delis will see you fully equipped to create a delicious dinner back at camp.  With local artisans celebrated for their cider, wine, beer, cheese, bacon, smoked Severn Salmon, organic vegetables and free range eggs.

There are hundreds of places to eat in the Forest of Dean, but if you’re looking to go out to dinner, The Whitebrook is a Michelin starred restaurant, specialising in local, seasonal produce.